Famous Fonts

November 8, 2016 , In: Inspiration
1

As people who are passionate about fonts, we field a lot of questions from people looking for the fonts used in popular logos and advertising. We thought it might be an interesting take to look at how these fonts became famous.

Coca-Cola

Believe it or not, any font looking like the famous Coke logo has been recreated from the logo. The original design was made by Frank Robinson back in 1886, who also came up with the name. He spent some time trying out variations of the name in Spencerian script – a flowing, calligraphic script style that comes from the same root as Intellecta Design’s Spencerian Palmer Penmanship font family, which takes the design to an even more decorative place.

Spencerian Palmer Penmanship

IBM

Never has a simple serif stood out so clearly for so many… especially one which has shifted over the years. The lettering is still shaped as the original slab-serif Beton Bold, an updated version of which, Beton SB, is available from Scangraphic, though the characteristic horizontal stripes (a relatively recent evolution of the design) were reverse-engineered into the logo later. IBM is rare in using a pre-existing font as a corporate logo, perhaps because when it adopted the font in 1947 it made it much easier to use their own products to produce branded information.

Beton SB Bold

Stephen King & Stranger Things

This year saw a surprise breakout hit from Netflix in the cult success Stranger Things, a TV show that bleeds 1980s movies and stories to a degree that most designers only wish they could capture. The eerie and atmospheric serif logo is a key part of this as it looks exactly like the title to a Stephen King novel from the era – and the reason behind that is ITC Benguiat, which you may also remember from Choose Your Own Adventure books if you’re old enough!

Stranger Things Logo

Adidas

There are few sporting brands recognised instantly the world over, but Adidas is definitely in that shortlist. What not many people know is that the font used in its logo is from another logo! Avant Garde magazine ran from 1968 to 1971 and its logo became the basis for the font ITC Avant Garde Gothic. Looking for something to give their brand a little more kick, Adidas simply use the lower case lettering from the modern font rather than the magazine’s upper case. Try Kamerik 105 from Talbot Type for a modern take on Avant Garde!

kamerik 105

New Money

Which font is more widely recognised for its numbers than its letters? Adrian Frutiger’s eponymous sans-serif, Frutiger, may be best known now as the font whose numbers adorn Euro bank notes. Before that it was already hugely popular as the official font for many American universities and for public transit signs in many locations around the world. A beautiful geometric font, Frutiger’s clarity is its strength and selling point, making its use on money, where ease of reading at a glance is key, brilliantly obvious.